I have recently embarked on a bit of a creative/ business venture with one of my oldest and bestest friends Louise ( we are literally family) and I have to say I am loving it!

Louise is the founder and mastermind behind Vivanails. Viva nails is a professional and creative nail service born from a passion of nail art. They provide a range of services from mobile nail artistry to custom press on’s for any occasion. Although I may be bias, Louise honestly produces some of the best hand designs I have ever come across. I have frequently been stopped by people in the street, marvelling at my nails and wondering where I got them done when wearing one of her designs. She will literally take your nails from bla to hurrah! If you don’t believe me, you can check out her skills for yourself here

Louise had the idea of designing nails to compliment outfits for some time now. Like many of us it’s an idea that she sat on for some time. This is where I come in! Having advised friends with where they can source their outfits for years as well as inspire them on how to put items together, I have been encouraged to persue the path of stylist more times than I can remember and it is most definitely my dream job.

After a random conversation, Louise and I came up with the idea of working on Fashion Nail Fridays together. It just made sense. Now we know why Louise didn’t take the idea forward earlier!

What is Fashion Nail Fridays?

Fashion nail Fridays is born from a concept of providing a new and unique styling solution. We team fresh “on trend” nails designed exclusively by Vivanails(Louise) with simple but effective outfits curated by stylist CM a la mode (Me). Our dream is to leave you inspired with outfits which compliment your nails seamlessly!

Why its great collaborating with someone I know

Although Fashion Nail Fridays is very much in it’s infancy, we have big plans for it coupled with bags of passion. Because we have known each other for so long, it has really been easy to merge our skills in order to take this venture forward and quite simply we just get each other.

All of us have the power to unlock so much potential. Whilst it is important to make time for your individual goals, there is a lot to be gained from combining your skills with someone elses to further elevate your success.

Just think the ideal person for you to collaborate with could be right underneath your nose! I encourage you right now to give that some thought. Please do share with me what you come up with.

Outfit details

Me

Yellow dress is from topshop. Buy it here

Black and white striped bag from zara. Buy it here

Multi print dress from Zara. Buy it here

Striped slides. No longer available. Buy a similar pair here

Louise

Orange sundress from boohoo but no longer available. Purchase a similar style here

Love as always

Shanna

Hello friends.

It’s been a while. I hope this post finds you well. Can you believe the first quarter of the year is finito?

The reason for my absence in blogging is that I certainly don’t feel as if I have had a great start to the year. Perhaps with all the highs of 2017 (my wedding and several other weddings, starting my blog and travelling well) it was inevitable.

I mentioned to my aunt the other day that i think I may well be having a quarter life crisis. Since I started promoting this post,i’ve been told by several people that ive passed the quarter mark in life. Third life crisis just doesn’t have the same ring! In any case the point is as I approach the awkward and unsexy age of 33, I find myself lost and panicky about several areas of my life.

First off is my career. Having recently run into some difficulty and issues at work, I have had to take a step back and really think about what I want to do with my career. One thing I decided a long time ago is that i am no longer interested in my sector. Having done it for 10 years this is an alarming thought! What do i do now? Luckily for me I have taken steps over the last couple years to gain a set of more generic skills which should allow me to jump from my current sector. I am however facing a large pay slash if i start in a more entry level role in order to work my back up.This has left me extremely conflicted. Success for me has always been linked to how much money i am making. I am sure i am not the only one who thinks this way seeing as this is how society conditions us to feel.What’s more with everyone appearing to be “living their best life” on social media, the pressure to keep up with the Jones’ is more ryfe than ever before. So of course I am feeling incredibly conflicted. I can’t spend the rest of my life doing something that i no longer enjoy but this doesn’t mean that i am not suitably miffed at the prospect of having to bring home less bacon which will result in an adjustment to the lifestyle I have become accustomed to. This unsurprisingly is causing me a great deal of stress. Having discussed this with my cousin just yesterday she said to me that “sometimes you have to change lanes to get back on the right track”. I think she is absolutely right and i’m just going to have to walk by faith on this one.

With all this time I’ve spent thinking about my career, I have also come to the conclusion like many of you, I’m sure that i have no desire to work 9-5 for the next 40 years or so only to stop in time to struggle along for the back end of my life on my pension. It’s definitely time I started “adulting” with my finances. I have been doing a great deal of research on investments, budgeting and side hustles, all of which can help us to secure long term wealth. The amount of information and resource on this this out there is actually astounding.This of course is a whole other topic so perhaps i can share with you my findings at a later date.

Another area of life I am most certainly struggling with is settling down and being a proper grown up. Having recently got married, I am of course now expected by many to produce offspring. Having been told for many years that ” I dont want to leave it too long” I can literally hear the clock ticking constantly in my ear. Also rather unhelpfully i’ve watched a couple of programmes recently which touched on the rapid decline in the number of eggs we produce in our 30s. YIKES! I really do want to have children of my own, I always have. The thought of having children when my career is not where it’s meant to be however is quite frankly terrifying as we all know 9 times out of 10 having children slows down our career progression. FACTS. Plus I’m now facing the prospect of possibly starting a new job and not qualifying for maternity pay if i don’t wait out the entitlement period. More stress. In addition to all this, as much as I do dream of being a mum one day, I’m still not feeling completely ready to hang up my party shoes. I see many of my friends slowing down and getting into family life while I’m trying to run as far away from the cosy slippers, early nights and bed time stories as i can. More conflict and more stress!

Finally and perhaps more trivally what an earth do I wear at the age of 33? I genuinely feel this is an awkward phase of life fashion wise. With many of the shops i habitually purchase my clothes from being aimed at “20 somethings” I’m left wondering where should I be shopping at 30 something. Add in my 5ft10 frame, I am facing yet more turmoil although arguably not as serious as the aforementioned topics.

Anyway that’s where i am at folks. Although i have written this in a comical tone, i am not feeling so great at the moment. The walls literally feel as if they are closing in around me. I’m sure some of you can relate to at least one of the pointers I’ve raised. Life is certainly very testing. I wish i knew as a kid that things would get waaaay harder, the more that time goes on. Probably wouldn’t have been in any hurry to grow up. One thing I have learnt however is that pain and discomfort is always temporary. With that being said, I will leave you with a quote which i pinched from my godbrother’s Instagram story which really resonated with me:

My jeans are from New look and are now on sale. You can get them here

All pictures taken by my favourite creative Leeanne Simpson. You can check her out here here

As always thanks for reading and it’s always great to hear your thoughts. See you next time

Shanna x

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Soon after I decided that I was going to start blogging and pursue my dream of becoming a personal stylist, I saw promotion for a “cocktails with Claire” event in London. I enquired with one of my friends who was promoting the event about whether he thought it was worth going and he said most definitely! Claire Sulmers was hosting the event. She was a fashion icon and it would be a really good opportunity to network. And there it was! That dreaded word. Network. I dont know about you but I have a serious fear of networking. The thought of turning up to an event and trying to struck up conversation with people I have never met before literally makes me sick to the stomach. What would I say? What if i tried to talk to someone and they just smiled and kept it moving like I do to those poor charity workers on the street?What if the conversation falls flat on its face? There’s only so long you can pretend to look busy and content whilst scrolling through your phone. We have all been there!

Anyway whilst I was contemplating and procrastinating about whether I had the balls to go this event, I realised that she was also  releasing a book. If you know me well, you’ll know that I don’t hesitate when it comes to shopping. The book got copped fast fast! Unfortunately I didn’t go to the event in the end. I sat at home and stalked it on my Instagram stories like a loser. Hopefully in the future I will be sharing with you my tips on networking because it’s incredibly difficult to win without doing it well. Anyway this is indeed a book review so let’s get on with it!

What is the book about?

“The Bomb Life. My brand. My terms” is a memoir and self help book written by Claire Sulmers.  Many of you will have heard of the blog fashionbombdaily.com of which Claire is the founder and editor in chief.  The book takes you on a ride with Claire as she charts the highs and lows of her career and how she made it to where she is today. It is also a self help book so she touches on several things such as the art of growing and monetizing your blog.

“You have the power in your brain and at the end of your fingertips to create the life that you want.

Set concrete goals.

Write them down.

Put them somewhere you can see them when you wake up and go to sleep.

Tell anyone who will listen of your sometimes outrageous plans

Reach for the stars.

You’ll be surprised how many of your dreams and goals come through.”

Page 183 of “The Bomb Life. My Brand my terms by Claire Sulmers

Why should you read this book?

Admittedly, my driver for buying the book was my interest in fashion and blogging. If however you have no interest in either of these, I would still recommend the book and here’s why. The main thing I took away from this book is that you should never give up on your dreams. You may often need to disregard the opinions of others, even those who love you dearly. Things may get rough and it may seem like you are never going to get there but perseverance and self belief is the key. So if you want that promotion at work, are a budding or aspiring entrepreneur or are just looking for a pick me up, it is most definitely worth a read.

Claire Sulmers Instagram page 2017 @clairesulmers

 

Just click on the picture below to get your copy. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading

Shanna xxx

This is an honest review and I am not working in conjunction with Claire Sulmers or fashionbombdaily.

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The tragedy of bereavement is never going to be easy to deal with. Probably one of the most difficult things to cope with is that while your world feels like it has been blown apart, life goes on for everyone else. There is no right or wrong way to handle losing a loved one and what works for some may not work for others. Below are some tips which have helped me to pull through the loss of those close to me, so you too may find them useful;

Allow yourself time to grieve

Grieving is a natural part of the process. There are no set guidelines on how long you should grieve for. If you go to school, college or work full time, rushing back too soon may compound your stress. This could eventually lead to you being off for longer. If you need to take a break from your day- to- day routine then do so. Most employers have policies to support you with this but if not, your doctor will be able to help. In contrast you might find that keeping yourself busy is more effective for you.
Grief can be a rollercoaster. Often you will be fine for a period of time and then you will have a day or two where you’re missing your loved one and feel really low before feeling better again. In all honesty the grieving process may never end but you will find better ways to deal with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get back to “normal” and take each day as it comes.

Remember the good times

Talk about your loved one as frequently as you feel with family and friends. Keeping their memory alive can often make you feel better. You may wish to visit their memorial on milestones or when you feel like being close to them. Some people prefer not to visit the memorial often as they don’t find it comforting. This doesn’t mean you miss them any less. Do what’s right for you.

Think about what they would want you to achieve
Sometimes when you lose someone close to you, it can feel like life has lost some meaning and you may feel like giving up. One of the main things which can help you to pull through is remembering that your loved one would want you to be happy and would want to know that you achieved the things you set out to do in life. Draw strength from this as it will help you to keep pushing on.

Exercise
I remember when my mum passed away, I felt like I wanted to escape. So that’s what I did… I started running. It’s no secret that exercise is good for us but it can also be really therapeutic. Whilst running may not be your thing, you might consider picking up an alternative such as yoga or even just walking. Exercising will help you to work through the range of emotions you are experiencing.

Talk to someone

Bottling up your feelings is never healthy in any situation. If you are feeling low, confide in a friend or family member. You may also consider talking to an independent professional as they may be able to offer you a different insight or perspective. If you are in education, you can find out if there is a counsellor who is attached to your school, college or University who you can talk to . Similarly if you’re working, many employers run an employees assistance programme which you will be able to tap into. Alternatively, you can speak to your doctor who will be able help or refer you on to a specialist.

It’s never easy moving on after losing someone close to you but just remember that they would want nothing more than to see you enjoying yourself and living life to the fullest.

As always thanks for reading

Shanna xxx